Vitamin D – Are You Getting Enough?

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With summer fast approaching and a lot of hype surrounding supplementation lately, I thought it would be great time to take a closer look at Vitamin D. Generally, associated more with sun baking rather than nutrition; We obtain this fat-soluble vitamin primarily through the exposure of our skin to the sun. Now you would think in this beautiful country of ours, and given our sunny climate that everyone in Australia would have fantastic Vitamin D stores, however, this is not always the case. Depending on our workplace environment, living conditions, ability to exercise outdoors and the clothes we wear, this can all have a profound effect on our vitamin D status, all by reducing our exposure to the sun.

The two most important forms are Vitamin D2, also called ergocalciferol and is of plant origin. The other form is D3 or cholecalciferol and is of animal origin. It is very difficult to meet our requirements through food alone, although, fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified margarine are adequate choices. If you follow a plant-based lifestyle, then fortified products such as Vita-soy are a great alternative.

Our bones work closely with Vitamin D to ensure the mineral content within them is strong and healthy. Vitamin D achieves this by acting in conjunction with a hormone called Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) to regulate blood calcium and phosphorus levels. When our calcium levels are low, Vitamin D (together with PTH) can mobilise the stores we have in our bones to help increase the concentration in our blood. We can now understand why then, how a Vitamin D deficiency is going to be unfavourable for our bone health and how this may have implications in any stage of life. Over a prolonged period, if intake is reduced, you’re greatly increasing your chances of osteomalacia or rickets if you’re younger.

So just how much Vitamin D should we be aiming for per day? And does this mean we can all justify our tanning habits in hopes of great Vitamin D status? For the average man or woman aged 19-30 yrs, we should be aiming for 5µg/day. This recommendation increases with age as we tend to spend more time indoors and our body’s slow down production of a molecule called 7-dehydrocholesterol which reduces our ability to intake Vitamin D3. To give some context, roughly 15-30minutes of sunlight 2-3 times per week provides the equivalent of 15µg/day. Hopefully, it is clear now why both sunlight and diet are equally important for Vitamin D health. If you have any questions surrounding vitamin D or any other part of your diet, then book in to see Dylan today.

Dylan is currently only operating out of our Como Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To book or enquire call our clinic on (08) 9583 5165.

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